Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Comas, Civil Rights, and Dramatic Irony
This episode is what I’ve wanted Shameless to be for a really long time. Enough with the antics and the shock value, we crave the drama, the intensity between the characters and their extreme situations. But what this episode has more than any other is a real sense of dramatic irony. We know that Mandy ran down Karen, but Lip is still in the dark.
Not to mention, Frank is off frolicking in his own delirium, giving talks to raise money for gay rights organizations, instead of causing pandemonium for his own family. Frank’s character is actually really, really funny, and now that he is only harming himself, I might actually be able to enjoy him.
The most powerful moment of the episode is Lip’s realization that Mandy sent the text message to Karen from his phone, and ultimately, that Mandy constructed the plan to rundown Karen. What must be going through Lip’s mind right now is a difficult question to answer. He cares for Mandy, but is still in love with Karen. The fact that his girlfriend intentionally ran down the love of his life must create complex emotional quandaries for Lip. Will he stand by Mandy?
And what of the moral implications: for her own selfish reasons, Mandy has changed the lives of so many people, including Karen’s mom, Sheila, her boyfriend, Jodi, and many others. Mandy wanted Karen out of the picture, but that she was willing to sacrifice the wellbeing of so many others is quite shocking. I’m not sure how Lip will be able to forgive Mandy, just thinking about the ethical boundaries crossed. Fighting, cheating, lying and stealing, manipulation we’ve come to expect, but murder? She could have easily killed Karen, and if homicide is fair game, what else is Mandy capable of as wicked means to her self-interested ends?
While these questions are probably paramount in Lip’s mind, he must also be frustrated with Mandy for taking such drastic control of his life to meet her own needs. Mandy truly cares for Lip, which was clearly evident in this episode. She does everything she can to help Lip, including applying to college for him, because she knows that Lip won’t do it on his own. Even the sagacious Debs, who despite her young age often gives the most valuable advice on the show, tells Lip to stop being a “shit head” and treat Mandy with the respect she deserves. Mandy goes well out of her way to make sure that Lip doesn’t become his own worst enemy. But how far is too far? And whether or not you agree that Karen is a dangerous poison in Lip’s life, it’s not up to Mandy to remove her altogether.
On a lighter note, Jimmy wants to go back to law school and tells Fiona he wants to move back to Michigan. Obviously, Fiona is upset with him for thinking about leaving her and her family. But, to Jimmy’s defense, how much more can he do for the Gallagher’s? He’s serving coffee at a local coffee shop, staying around the house to help Fiona with the kids, and finally has come to a fork in the road. He needs to do what is best for him, with or without Fiona. Their relationship seems too troubled to save. Firstly, Fiona has no idea that Jimmy is actually married to Estefania – although he came clean to Fiona about his car-thieving past, he’s still living a double life.